Well, this is fucking tragic. Late Saturday night, 40-year-old yoga instructor Justine Damond called police to report a suspected sexual assault in the alley behind her Minneapolis home. Minutes later, the responding officers killed her. An unarmed, middle-aged woman in her pajamas was so threatening that a cop reached across his partner and fired his gun through the door of the squad car. The bullets entered Damond’s stomach, and she died almost immediately.
Mysteriously, neither officer had activated his body camera, and the shooting wasn’t captured by the dashcam either. After Minneapolis police killed Jamar Clark in 2015 and St. Anthony’s police shot Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul last year (thanks for the edit, Skwerl!), the department spent $6 million to buy body cameras for all its officers. Minnesota’s Star Tribune reports there is no way to accidentally fail to record a lethal event:
The Minneapolis Police Department’s Policy and Procedure manual says that any use of force requires the camera’s activation. If things change quickly and the officer is too busy, he or she should activate the camera “as soon as it is safe to do so,” according to the manual.
The cameras constantly record a 30-second video buffer, a so-called “lookback” that allows officers to capture whatever happened in the half-minute before it’s activated.
The two officers had thirty seconds after the shots were fired to record the incident. But neither of them activated his camera.
WHAT THE FUCK?
Ms. Damond had immigrated from Australia to be with her fiancé, whom she was planning to marry next month. Damand’s family back in Sydney are demanding to know how she ended up dead, and the shooting has become an international incident.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau released a statement of condolence and called for an independent investigation:
And everyone tried to pretend that this was just another tragic police shooting.
Except Justine Damond was a middle-class white lady.
Unlike Sandra Bland.
Or Rekia Boyd.
Or Philando Castile.
Or Jamar Clark.
As NY Daily News’s Shaun King put it:
This weekend in Minneapolis, I believe police brutality jumped the racial fence when a beautiful, blonde haired, white woman, Justine Damond, a yoga and meditation instructor from Australia, who was just a few weeks away from getting married, was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer outside of her home.
All of a sudden, police brutality isn’t over there in some bad, brown neighborhood. Now it’s here in White People Land. Or, as NAACP activist and Minneapolis mayoral candidate Nekima Levy-Pounds told the Washington Post:
Many of us who have been on the front lines have been warning the public, saying if they would do this to our fathers and our sons and our brothers and our sisters and our mothers, they will do it to you next. I really hope that this is a wake-up call for this community to stop allowing things to be divided on the lines of race and on the lines of socio-economic status.
This put Fox News in a pickle. Normally they would trot out Rudy Giuliani to say all those black people need to do to stay alive is be respectful of the police and obey orders, like he did after the Dallas police shootings:
“There’s too much violence in the black community,” he said. “[I]f you want to deal with this on the black side, you’ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police and you’ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police; the real danger to them, 99 out of 100 times, 9,900 out of 1,000 times, are other black kids who are gonna kill them. That’s the way they’re gonna die.”
Fox host Eric Bolling would swear the victim had been shouting and banging on the squad car. Steve Doocy would say, “Those poor cops had no way of knowing if she had a gun tucked in the waistband of her jammies!” And Sean Hannity would speculate she was probably the babymama of the Dallas sniper who shot five cops.
But then Fox realized that the shooter was a black, Muslim immigrant from Somalia. And their prayers were answered!
The officer, identified by his attorney on Monday as Somali-American Mohamed Noor, said in a statement that he came to the U.S. at a young age and that he believes being a police officer is his calling.
So Fox will either ignore the story entirely, or spend the day accusing this guy of being an ISIS infiltrator. Their other option is to cover the implosion of Mitch McConnell’s plan to free Americans from the burdens of healthcare, so expect to hear a lot about Officer Noor.
Everything is awful, and we are sad. As Damond’s stepson Zach Damond said in a video posted to Facebook,
I’m so done with all this violence. America sucks. These cops need to get trained differently. I need to move out of here.
Well that was grim! Drop a dollar in the kitty and maybe we can find some Nicetimes for you!